I’m sharing this now because we’ve been through the empty nest phase of parenting and I know very soon they’ll be more parents experiencing what we did. I’m sharing this to give a little insight into how this area of our parenting lives affected us. Firstly, I don’t think anything can prepare you. From the minute you start visiting universities with your offspring its there on the horizon … looming.
Then the exams come, then the results and then boom … they are off.
We were lucky in that both of our boys picked Newcastle as their city of study. When our eldest, Dex picked Newcastle I remember thinking great it’s only a 45 minute drive away. I’ll see plenty of him. Wrong!
The first chick flew …
I can only describe the feeling as one of not knowing how to feel. He was so excited. Leaving home, going to study a subject he loved (Zoology), making new friends. I felt a bit lost.
I was over the moon to watch him grow and fly but inside I felt bereft. I was really going to miss him. He made me laugh every single day. He was so inquisitive and interested in everything. He was argumentative, confident, kind, funny; a true soul mate. I class both my kids as soul mates .. they are part of us and me particularly as their mother with that invisible cord.
We waved goodbye. Mr Bbed and I had travelled up to Newcastle in two cars. I followed him back down the motorway and he said he could tell all the way through his mirror that I was crying my eyes out.
It felt like a loss…
Really that’s the only way to describe it. I was so happy for him but so sad for me.
Over the coming days and weeks Mr Bbed and I hugged and talked about how much we missed him. It didn’t seem to affect him as much as it did me. A little part of me was missing.
Couples worry at this time in their lives …
and I can see why. It’s a massive change to your routine. We were both very busy with work and that was a great distraction for us. We still had our youngest, Patch at home – he started sixth form college at this point. This was a new and exciting phase for him so we had plenty to focus on together. It stopped me dwelling on the fact that one of my chicks had flown.
Not all the time though ..
The slightest things got me tearful. Stopping in my tracks to look at a photo, him not replying to my texts like in a nano second! I found myself going into his room and sitting on his bed, wondering what he was doing.
Then of course there’s all the normal things to worry about like is he eating, has he changed his bed, how much his he drinking ….
I don’t expect everyone is like this but this was my experience.
It got easier .. as time went on.
When we first went up to visit it was tough again when we left .. and then each time it got a little easier to slip away. The same can be said when he came home to visit. It was hard for the first day he went back each time but then we settled back into our new normal. As they say, time is a great healer and it’s helped along by the fact that you are watching them grow and develop into maturity and finding their way in the world.
Then it was time for chick No. 2 to fly …
Why oh why did I think this would be easier? It wasn’t! I cried again back down that motorway. I was going to miss my little man with his kind, sweet nature. Always asking me how I was, always the family’s peace keeper.
I knew the drill what was the matter with me? I knew he’d forget to text me back, I knew he might not call when he said he would, I knew he might not know how much to spend each week in Tesco, that he was a quiet shy boy and how would he find his way? All this I knew just like the time before and still it made me cry.
Mr Bbed again quietly got on. Like a brave soldier I think in hindsight. This time the house was even quieter. Now it really was just us. The two of them were gone!
We went through the same process and all I can say is it’s one of the hardest parts of parenting for me. But. we’ve got through it together.
Patch is in his second year studying Computer Science and loving his freedom. Dex is back home so chicks apparently come back didn’t you know? He’s working hard in his own start up.
Now we are back to the piles of dirty washing, endless ironing and empty kitchen cupboards. What’s different about this time is now he really is a grown up.
This is another hard bit of parenting .. when they are grown ups just like us!
I’ll chat about this another time.
Massive hugs to anyone going through this over the coming weeks.
Hang in there — you’ll get through it 🙂